ONE of the world’s leading Russian wheat aphid (RWA) research authorities will visit South Australia next month to offer his knowledge and insights on management of the state’s newest broadacre cropping pest.
Entomology Professor Frank Peairs from the Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management at Colorado State University in the United States, will headline a RWA “war room” briefing at a Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Grains Research Update on February 7 and 8.
First detected in Australia on a property in SA’s Mid North in May 2016, the aphid quickly became relatively widespread across South Australia and Victorian grain-growing areas and has also been detected in southern New South Wales.
GRDC Southern Regional Panel chairman Keith Pengilley said RWA had been a hot topic in the SA grains industry since its detection.
“When RWA was first discovered in Australia, we really did not know how it would behave under local conditions and what impact it would have on the cropping landscape,” Mr Pengilley said.
“We were confronted with so many unknowns at the time but since then the GRDC, its research partners and other agencies have been working hard to develop an improved understanding of the pest’s behaviour and suitable integrated management approaches, and it will be important to relay this new knowledge to growers and their advisers ahead of the 2017 cropping season.”
RWA will be just one of many key topics to be addressed at next month’s update, which will act as a launch pad for the coming season.
“In addition to the arrival of RWA, season 2016 presented an incredible amount of challenges but also opportunities for SA growers – the joy of producing high-yielding crops thanks to above-average growing season rainfall was tempered by low prices for cereals and weather damage in parts,” Mr Pengilley said.
“There was a lot to learn from last year, and those experiences and learnings will be factored into this year’s Adelaide update so growers can be on the front foot should issues arise this year.”